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Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
83 220848 May 7, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $355.55
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.81
9.17
9.1
ef100mmf_2usm_1_

Specifications:
Despite the large maximum aperture, the lens remains compact. Lens group 5 moves for rear focusing, and sharp, crisp pictures are obtained at all apertures. The background blur is ideal for portraits. The USM autofocuses the lens quickly and quietly.


 


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rfdesigner
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Registered: May 6, 2014
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 7, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp at f2.0, generally well built, proper ring-USM AF. affordable.
Cons:
No IS..

Price paid is 299 sterling, not dollars, but site won't accept

I've had this lens for about 6 months now.

Sharpness/Aberrations:
It's superbly sharp at any aperture, peaking somewhere around f2.8~f4 but still excellent at f2.0. Currently I'm using it on a crop camera so I can't comment on FF corner sharpness. On a crop in astro-photos, the stars in the corners are good at f2.0 and excellent at f2.8 (very rare performance), in my experience DPP lens corrections are only noticeable at 200% view.. and then only if you look closely.

Most people would compare this with the 85f1.8. In my opinion this wins by a small but significant margin. Check out the DxOmark data for the 85 vs 100 and you'll notice just how soft the 85 is wide open compared to the 100, the 100 at f2.0 is probably equal to the 85 at f2.2 or 2.5.

Features/Build:
This lens doesn't have IS, but that would cost more and would mean there's more to go wrong. It does have proper USM focus, so it's fast silent and should last with no little plastic cogs to break on you. Neither front nor rear element move at all, so dust ingress is going to be a slow process and filters don't spin round as you focus. The materials are a mix of metal and high quality plastic, with metal filter thread and metal mount.

Canon do not provide a free hood, but a quick check on ebay and you can get one very cheaply, I paid 3 for mine.


May 7, 2014
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noncho
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Registered: Dec 23, 2012
Location: Bulgaria
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 12, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good overall image and build quality
Cons:
Purple fringing

I like this lens, but on crop camera you can see why this lens is not L. Good for the money, but it's time for upgrade for Canon - I need better quality IS prime between 85 and 120mm.


P.S. I'm using it for portraits and concert photos, here are some samples:
concert(with EOS-M and adapter): http://www.nonchoiliev.com/blog/647
portrait: http://www.nonchoiliev.com/blog/759


Dec 12, 2013
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rtallent
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Registered: Jan 2, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 565
Review Date: Oct 5, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, great color, beautiful bokeh, fast focus
Cons:
Hood extra, high contrast fringeing

Very similar optically to the 85mm f/1.8 with a little longer reach and a heftier, more solid feel. I think the high contrast fringeing is less with the 100mm and is very easily corrected in Lightroom 4.x. Very pleased with this lens.

Oct 5, 2012
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AbramG
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Registered: Jan 30, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 2481
Review Date: Oct 8, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp wide-open, fantastic bokeh, responsive AF, physically a small and compact lens for the focal length.
Cons:
build could be more durable..

I no longer have this lens, but I really enjoyed it while I did. The quality it produces is really excellent. AF is very quick and responsive and it works great in low light.

My only complaint is that the build quality could have been better. When I sold the lens, it must have been dropped or something during shipping because upon arrival the focus ring was jammed (though my shipping box and materials were still perfectly intact)

Could have been a fluke scenario, I don't know, thankfully Canon fixed it up just fine and the new owner was happy.

Regardless of that issue, I would still recommend this lens to anyone, especially if they are interested in the 135L but can't quite afford it.


Oct 8, 2011
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XAOC
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Registered: May 29, 2007
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 21, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: value, speed, size, sharp
Cons:
no hood

I like this lens a lot. For the money it is very sharp compact and it has fast AF.
I use it on my 5D mark II mainly for portraits and it has great bokeh.


http://antoski.com/tips.html


Feb 21, 2011
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beeber00
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Registered: Jul 21, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 741
Review Date: Dec 30, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $330.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build quality, F 2.0, focusing speed.
Cons:
Not a con - but getting used to 100mm.

Bought this lens for 330. You could find some on the BUY AND SELL board on this website. If you are not a registered user, please sign up. I registered two years ago and everything I've owned photo-related was bought either on this website or from a recommendation from this website.

First off, this lens' f-stop goes down to 2.0. If you havent used a lens that can do this, you need to see it. It can take sharp pictures at that f-stop easily. If you change it to 2.8 or 4, the pictures look even better.

Works portraits so-fine. Some prefer the focal length (# of mm's) of 85 while some use 100, 135 or even 200. If you have a zoom lens and find yourself using 100mm the most, get this one, no doubt about it.

If you're new to photography, 330$ might seem like a lot for a lens that doesnt zoom. Wrong. Once you start to use this lens you'll like it. If you have an 85 1.8, you may not need this since its almost the same thing. I've owned both lenses - they're practically the same.

I COULD compare it to the 135L f 2.0. Its almost the same mechanically - a telephoto with f 2.0. Of course, the 135 has better color and sharpness, but its also more expensive.

Be aware that if you use this lens on a camera like a 40d, its actually 160mm which might make it harder to use.

If you're in the market for a well-built lens that takes nice pictures and focuses fast, this lens will work well for you. The first place to look is on this website.


Dec 30, 2010
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Paulius
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Registered: Oct 4, 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 17
Review Date: Sep 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: good colors, contrast, price
Cons:
hmmm well i don't get as much CA as i thought i will, but they are there though, the focus ring feels very very cheap. No hood or pouch...but that is canon being greedy.

Well, this is a special lens first of all.
Used right it can produce some very interesting and very beautiful images. Due to the very silky rendering this lens is perfect for portraiture, it doesn't make the object "pop" but it helps keep the harmony in the image. That is what i like about it.
I use it for street photography, although my 30mm siggy gets used the most, but there are some pictures that wouldn't have gotten without having this little guy.
If you have FF this is THE LENS for the money. IF you have a crop like me, try it, you won't like it for the first time, but it will grow on you very fast.

Kind regards,
Paulius


Sep 13, 2010
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trigrad
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Registered: Jan 26, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: Sep 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Value, AF, Contrast, bokeh, size
Cons:
Hood

For the money this is a great lens. Very compact, quite sharp wide open, nice bokeh, good contrast and fast AF. There's not much to dislike for the money.

I really like this as a travel prime on FF.

One complaint is the hood. As others have said the hood attachment is not nice. It rattles a bit when attached, and doesn't fit as securely as a bayonet hood.


Sep 13, 2010
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transoptic1
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Registered: Apr 1, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 930
Review Date: Jun 20, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $345.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, contrasty, EXCELLENT bokeh, fast focus, light yet sturdy
Cons:
high-contrast CA

This is one of the best lenses I've ever owned.

It feels just right on my 50D, and comes with some tack-sharp
images, even opened all the way up. Just have to be careful about focusing when wide open -- f2 at 100mm makes a rather thin DOF -- but it's still pretty forgiving compared to some lenses, unlike the 50 1.4.
Speaking of focus, it's fast and silent.


The only thing negative about this lens is outdoor high-contrast situations get some severe fringing, like shooting at high noon in the park. But I use this mostly for studio portraits, and live concerts, so I'm rarely in a situation where this becomes a problem.

Here's a sample using this lens at an outdoor music festival:
http://www.justingillphoto.com/DoDivision2010/content/images/large/Do_Division_86.jpg


Totally worth every penny.


Jun 20, 2010
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Daan B
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Registered: Aug 15, 2007
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 7591
Review Date: Apr 24, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: IQ wide open, small, light, inconspicuous, cheap, AF
Cons:
fringing, no hood supplied

A small, light and inconspicuous lens with very good optics.

It is already sharp and contrasty at f/2. Only negative is the rather heavy fringing at high contrast situations.

Focus is fast (a little bit faster than the 100L) and accurate. MF ring feels great. Built quality is compact and sufficient.

Great (portrait) FL on FF cameras. Cheap. Love it Smile


Apr 24, 2010
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Olius
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Registered: Jan 20, 2010
Location: Sweden
Posts: 5
Review Date: Mar 22, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, no distortion, lightweight, fast focusing
Cons:
Build quality not top notch, focusing ring feels a bit plasticky at times, hood rattles a bit

This is one of those lenses which allow you to select aperture solely based on dof requirements. I find it to be equally sharp at all apertures. Perhaps there is some improvement at F8 compared to F2 but I think it just seems that way because of the dof increase. The sharpness remains all the way out in the full frame corners.

I wrote lightweight in the positive aspects section because it makes the lens easy to take with you. It is however, so light that I find myself wishing for it to be heavier sometimes in order to get more stability but that's being picky.

The focusing is very fast and very quiet. It was also accurate without calibration.

The focusing ring on my sample has a bit of play in it. The operation however, is nice and smooth. My other complaint would be the hood which is very loose fitting. If force is applied, it can emit a loud clicking noise. Still one cannot disregard the fact that for the money, this is a stellar lens.

This lens and my 5D mark II are best friends. Here is a picture taken with the combo:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/harstrom/4387810570

This set contains pictures taken only with this lens:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/harstrom/sets/72157623196337854/


Mar 22, 2010
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Gert Arijs
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Registered: Mar 17, 2007
Location: Belgium
Posts: 2
Review Date: Jan 15, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: I read about it, and found out that it would be very sharp. I expected a lot, but was still very astonished about the sharpness.
Cons:
None, really. Even the filter tread is perfect.

I expected this to be a normal lens. One wich would be VERY sharp at f/2,8 and a bit softer more open. I got it wrong: it is very sharp, even at f/2,0.
It was even sharper than I expected it could be at f/2,0.

I mainly shoot nature, although since I have this lens, I'd love to do portraits more often. That's just because this lens is a pleasure to use, expecially wide open.

Search for a cheap one secondhand, it is wonderful.

Gert Arijs,
Belgium


Jan 15, 2010
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e.omega
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Registered: Jan 11, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Dec 23, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $320.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Relatively light in weight, very Sharp wide-open at f/2, fast and quiet autofocus, very minimal ca at f/2, affordable(costs 1/3rd of 135L), well built.
Cons:
mfd, dust.

I have used this lens on ff and on crop and I have to say its wonderful. Very sharp at f/2, produces nice warm colors, and its af is very fast and quiet. I have had no issues focusing in low light with my xsi or 5D. I'm not a professional but I shoot alot of portraits for family, friends, and school. I was torn between the 85mm f/1.8 and this lens but decided to go with the 100mm f/2 as the 85 was to close to my 50mm f/1.4. Its light weight and compact so its easy to carry around. The price is quite attractive at $320-$360 compared to the 135L >$900. The only issue would be dust. I used it for about a week before getting a filter and then I noticed 2 dust specs inside the lens. It doesn't affect image quality so I guess its not big of a deal. For what I paid, I couldn't ask for any better. This is one of the best lenses I have used.

Shot on ff @ f/2:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/efua/4202494012/
Shot on crop @ f/2:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/efua/4035735058/in/set-72157622641546970/


Dec 23, 2009
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catchup
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Registered: Apr 29, 2009
Location: China
Posts: 1
Review Date: Aug 23, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Fast and accurate AF(after calibration in my case), Sharpness at F2, Good Bokeh, Compact size
Cons:
Minor Chromatic Aberration in high-contrast situation

As I wrote in my previous post, my EF100/2 misfocused on 450D shooting from mid-distance. It was calibrated by Canon's post-sale service recently, and the AF is fast and accurate now.

Now I have almost nothing to complaint about this compact and cheap lens except minor chromatic aberration in high-contrast situation. I guess this is the most obvious gap in image quality between this lens and the famous 135L.

Generally I think this is a very good lence. You could see sample pics compared between different Canon lens from the link below. In mid-tele range, this is the third best Canon lens. The only two better than it are 135L and 220/218 which are much more expansive.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=118&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=118&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=5


Aug 23, 2009
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stephenmak
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Registered: Feb 16, 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 7
Review Date: Jun 3, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $320.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, Great Colour, Cheap (if you buy it right), Good Bokeh, Light, Fast Auto-Focus, F2.0, Quiet, Perfect for portraits on a 5D/1Ds and 1D
Cons:
No Red Ring.....

My Nikkor 105 f 2.5 was probably my all time favourite people lens. Fast, great bokeh. This is the modern equivalent. On a 1.3x crop camera, it's a bit longer, but having had a 135 f 2.0L, this lens for lots less money, is just as good. Also, the lack of the additional 35mm makes a big difference in terms of it's use -- a 135 on a 1D would be 175mm which is way too long.

Even at retail prices, the 100mm is a full 1/3 less money than the 135L. For me, I'd save my money because that can be added to something like a 200L, which is an all time bargain the Canon lineup of L lenses.

Autofocus is super fast, it's light, great bokeh, and it's sharp. It's bitingly sharp at f4.0 and lower, and pretty sharp at f 2.0 (probably sharper than my 24-105L @ 100mm at f4.0).

For what I paid (which was a pittance), it's a great lens. It's light, so you can take it around, and it's fast so you can use it in limited light conditions.


Jun 3, 2009
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borderlight
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Registered: Dec 6, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1753
Review Date: May 31, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, fast, small, black
Cons:
None

This is an exceptional lens for a FF camera. The 105mm Nikkor has been regarded as the best standard portrait focal length for years. This Canon version competes nicely with that legendary lens. It compliments the 70-200 f4 zooms, and provides beautiful bokeh @f2 for outdoor backgrounds.

In response to those few comments (3-5 rating) concerning the 100 f2:

1) The 100 f2 has an 8-bladed aperture, not 7.
2) It is a well known fact that Canon doesn't provide hoods for non-L lenses, or UV filters either. If you want real value then purchase a Sigma, or other third party lenses that include a lens hood.
3) If you are dissatisfied with the close-focusing capabilities of the 100 f2 after you purchase it, I suggest that next time to read a lens specifications before purchasing so it will meet your needs in advance. There's always the 100mm Macro.
4) Purple fringing: If you are constantly shooting high contrast snow-filled scenes, make large prints of white skies and tree branches, or are unfamilar about how to correct those rare situations in Photoshop then maybe this lens is not for you. I haven't experienced any CA since I purchased it. This is probably due to not shooting those situations or choosing the right tool that would perform better in those rare instances.


May 31, 2009
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Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
83 220848 May 7, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $355.55
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.81
9.17
9.1
ef100mmf_2usm_1_


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